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Animation, the cat and escaping drawing
by Sarah Treadwell and Paul Veart
Abstract: This paper considers an animation that engages and provokes the viewer by insistently questioning representational frameworks upon which conventional architectural animations depend. Under discussion is an animation, Beyond, by director Koji Morimoto, which is part of the Animatrix compilation of short films, (2002). Beyond tells a story of animal and architectural movement that is governed by play.

This paper suggests that the manipulations of animality in the animation Beyond, in both content and form, lead to the productive possibility of a hybrid animal/architectural drawing that makes explicit the inherent mobility of traditional drawing. The paper follows the narrative line of Morimoto's Beyond because, in the accumulating patterns of the story, a porosity between categories (animal/human/drawing/architecture) becomes apparent in the movement of the text and its inhabitants.

In her essay "Without End, no, State of Drawingness, no, rather: The Executioner's taking off" in Stigmata: Escaping Texts, Hélène Cixous considers movement in drawing in relationship to the 'living of life' and also finds in selected drawings 'intimations of mortality'. She stresses the difficulty of drawing in terms of a distance suggesting that it is "always beyond my strength"1. She writes of drawing, both engaged and critical, that looks back at itself, not unlike the animation Beyond.

In the paper, as a form of play that operates with side-by-side orientation (instead of the more usual situation in which theory leads and structures drawing) selected writings from Hélène Cixous' menagerie stories, seen as peripheral colouration and transformative companions, are set in conjunction with the narrative of the animation.

Keywords: Animatrix, Hélène Cixous, animation, architectural drawing

Originally published in Interstices: a journal of architecture & related arts.
TM101 thanks the editors for allowing us to share this paper with our readers.


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The entire crew of the hovercraft Hammer have names borrowed from weapons: Mauser, AK, Maggie (magazine), and Colt. Interestingly, the hammer is also referred to as Mjolnir, which is the Norse God Thor's hammer...yet another weapon. The Hammer Mjolnir was said to always return after it had been thrown. Coincidentally, the Hammer (piloted by Niobe) is the only hovercraft to return to Zion.
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